Raw

Writer/Director: Julia Ducournau

France. 

Body Horror / Coming of Age / Drama

What It's About

A different kind of coming of age movie. Two sisters, Justine and Alexia, are attending Veterinary school, the same school their parents attended. This is Justine’s first year. After having been raised vegetarian, the young freshman gets a taste for meat, boys and flesh. 

What I Thought

After watching Titane (2021) I was intrigued enough to check out some of Julia Ducournau’s other work. I kept hearing about Raw so I finally sat down to watch it and I was exceptionally impressed. 

This film is full of symbolism so don't take everything at face value. That’s the beauty with Ducournau’s writing. One could argue that the real subject here is not actually cannibalism, but rather, becoming a woman. The changes in your body, in your mentality, noticing and feeling the consequences of your actions and coming into your carnal sexuality. Justine develops lustful feelings for her dormmate and best (gay) friend, the handsome Adrien, which result in some very memorable scenes. Hauntingly poignant scenes. Scenes you won’t soon forget. 

Ducournau takes a different approach to this taboo subject. It’s not gory for gore’s sake. It serves purpose and the focal point is not on the actions themselves, but rather the characters’ reactions to the horrific things happening around them. 

Yes, it’s graphic. That being said, it’s done exceptionally well. Having watched other cannibal genre films I can honestly say, this is far superior than others. It has a well written and engaging story. Watching the controlled straight “A” Justine slowly lose control of herself as the film progresses was harrowing. The immersive atmosphere, the flawless performances of both the female leads, Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf, the impeccable writing of Ducournau, and the subject material will hook you in even if you think it won’t. I didn’t pause this movie once. I found myself enthralled in the story, biting my fingers, (no pun intended), mesmerized by the lead actress, and feeling real empathy for Justine. Whenever she did something shocking or horrific, I wasn’t disturbed, instead I found myself feeling intense compassion for her. 

The relationship between the two sisters gave me real Ginger Snaps vibes. Essentially one cannot exist without the other, even if they’re slowly destroying each other. The relationship itself was raw and visceral. Alexia, the older of the two, resents Justine’s brilliance and the fact that she’s the favorite daughter; at the same time she holds intense love for her and wants to help her. 

Final Thoughts

5/5

This is one of those movies you won’t easily forget. That’s what I’m beginning to love about Ducournau’s work. It’s evocative, moving and just hauntingly beautiful. The ending of the film ties the whole movie together in a shockingly scandalous manner. My jaw literally dropped. Exceptional writing and exquisite acting mixed with a unique twist on the coming of age trope makes this a standout in the genre. Everything you’re looking for in a horror movie. Go back and check it out!

Where To Find It

Amazon Prime, Starz, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Netflix


Photo: IMDB


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